tenant can't pay rent

Your Tenant Can’t Pay Rent

Hearing that your tenant can’t pay rent is something that no landlord wants to hear. You are a landlord and you hope that your tenants will pay their rent each and every month, in full and on time. 



The reality is that most of your tenants will pay their rent on time.  But, even if you have GREAT tenants, at some point in time, someone will not be able to pay their rent for whatever reason.


[ctt template=”5″ link=”4EevH” via=”no” ]Regardless of what the situation is, you need to follow your eviction procedures. [/ctt]


Tenant Can’t Pay Rent Excuses

As a landlord, you will hear lots of different excuses but the most common ones are:

  1. Lost a job
  2. Laid off from a job
  3. Too sick to go to job
  4. Car broke down and couldn’t go to work
  5. Someone died and I had to pay for the funeral


What Does That Mean?

If you are lucky, the excuse you are given is any of the above EXCEPT “I lost my job”. Once your tenant loses his job, that means he isn’t getting paid.  Even if he gets a job right away, you won’t get paid for at least two weeks.

The other situations mean money will still be coming into their household and they should be able to get caught up much more quickly.


What Should You Do?tenant can't pay rent

Regardless of what the situation is, you need to follow your eviction procedures as soon as your tenant says I can’t pay rent this month.  Even if your tenant says he will pay on the 14th, it is still very late. You need to know what steps you need to take and that can vary by state.


In Kentucky:

  1. Send the 7 day letter
  2. Get a court date
  3. File the eviction
  4. Schedule the set out
  5. Perform the set out


7 Day Letter

If you live in Kentucky, the first thing you do is send a 7 day letter that basically says “Pay or get out”. You can send this letter on the 2nd day of the month if you wish or you can give the tenant a couple of days to get rent paid.


Get A Court Date

The 7 day letter is so named because 7 days after you send this letter, you can call your eviction attorney and start the second step of the eviction process.  You use the day the letter is sent as Day 1.


Court Date

At the court date, your attorney or you, will attend and possibly your tenant. If your tenant does show, he or she will be asked if they owe the money and if they plan to pay.  If the tenant can’t pay rent at that time, the judge will advise him that he has 8 days to pay you the rent and fees owed or get out.


File The Eviction

On the 8th day after you have been to court, you can call your attorney to get the ball rolling to schedule the eviction.  Either you or your attorney will get the paperwork to the sheriff and once they have it, they can proceed to the next step.



Schedule The Set Out

You can get a set out date once the sheriff has the paperwork which can take anywhere from one week to several weeks depending on how busy it is. They will post a “scare notice” that basically tells them they have a day or two to get out but in reality, they actual date will be several days or a week out.


Set Out Day

When you schedule the set out, the sheriff will tell you how many people you must have present at the property to move the people out. If you show up without them, they will leave.  The sheriff’s are there to enforce the set out order and to protect you.  They are not there to help you move all of the tenant’s stuff out of the rental unit.



Know The Law

This is how the process works in Kentucky. You MUST be familiar with the laws in your area so that when a tenant can’t pay rent, you will know what to do. I strongly recommend contacting an attorney and having them detail the process for you.


Evicting a tenant is never a fun process.  We will discuss some ways to avoid a set out in a future article.




Most Unique Excuse For Not Paying Rent



I was in a train rech so I have been down. Am sending you $235 and I will have the rest by August 18, 2015 plus the late fees. I will contact you or you can contact me.?”






Follow me on Facebook and get more Common Sense Landlording tips.